Welcome to the May installment of our monthly Disney Vacation Club preview. This month, we round up the latest news, including dates for the DVC member cruises. We’ll also take a look at some common DVC owner questions.
Here are some booking window dates to keep in mind. For your home resort (11-month booking window), in May, you will be able to book for dates in April 2020. For all other DVC resorts (seven-month booking window), this month you will be able to book for dates in December 2019. Bear in mind that we’re now in range for booking in the Halloween and Christmas season 2019 for even the seven-month window. If you’re planning to enjoy the park decor and parties during the holidays, now’s the time to plan.
Booking directly through Disney, there are virtually no studio units available at any DVC property in May or June. There are 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom villas open at Aulani during early May, but there is almost no availability at Aulani in June. There are 1- 2- and 3- bedroom units open at Saratoga Springs at WDW during much of May and June. Scattered large rooms are also available in June at Old Key West and Boulder Ridge at WDW, and there are a few 2-bedroom openings at Hilton Head in June.
If you want to expand your options, you may want to explore renting points as an alternative to booking through Disney. (If you rent points through the affiliate link to David’s DVC rentals, TouringPlans receives a commission.)
DVC and Disney News
The time has now arrived! The new Star Wars land, Galaxy’s Edge, is opening at Disneyland on May 31, to be followed by the opening at Walt Disney World on August 29. Needless to say, guest interest in these areas is unprecedented. Disneyland visitors with bookings at the Disney hotels have gotten timed tickets to allow them entrance to the new land. Some guests are altering plans to be among the first to experience the new land, while others are altering plans to avoid potential crowds around the Galaxy’s Edge debut. Expect that there will be some some fluidity in room reservation availability during this time. If you’re looking to make a Disney hotel reservation during the rest of 2019 and you’re not finding your preferred room type, keep checking back. We’ll have TouringPlans staff on hand to give us the scoop on these much anticipated new offerings — stay tuned.
There continues to be news related to the new Riviera Resort, which is adjacent to the Caribbean Beach resort. The points chart for Riviera is now available. The 2-person Tower Studio rooms have the least expensive points requirements I’ve seen at WDW: just 11 points per night for a weekday stay during Adventure Season. That pricing all but ensures that the Tower Studios will never be available to DVC owners without Riviera contracts. Consider whether that will influence any purchase decision. Points purchased at Riviera are now available to current DVC owners. There are promotions for current DVC owners to save on the cost of points if they purchase prior to May 31, 2019. After that the price per point goes up to well over $200. If you want to add on here, it pays to do so early in the offering.
If you’re planning to visit Walt Disney World this fall, look out for a new fireworks presentation during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Is that enough of a draw to make you buy party tickets this year?
TouringPlans vlogger Angela Dahlgren recently visited the DVC cabins at Copper Creek at the Wilderness Lodge. She got some terrific video of the cabins and now I want to stay there more than ever. Seriously, those cabins are pretty close to my dream home.
Big news in the world of DVC discounts: For select sailings, Disney Cruise Line is offering 30% off from the original points chart for guests paying for their cruise with points. Call member services at 800-800-9800 for details.
There are also reduced points offerings for DVC members on some upcoming Adventures by Disney trips. I’m happy to go on any Disney vacation, but Adventures by Disney trips are my absolute favorite thing in the world. You get to see the world and somebody else takes care of every detailing of planning and executing your trip. Sigh. Again, call member service at 800-800-9800 for the complete scoop.
There is limited availability on the DVC member cruises on Disney Cruise Line. The member cruises currently available are a 7-night Bermuda sailing from October 5-12, 2019, out of New York on the Disney Magic and a 7-night Alaska cruise out of Vancouver from August 24-31, 2020. In addition to all the fun of a regular DCL voyage, member cruises include loads of perks not available to regular guests, including enhanced stateroom gifts, presentations by Disney-affiliated celebrities, member receptions, and other surprises. Members may book up to four staterooms for these sailings. Call member services at 800-800-9800 for more information. If you decide to book a member cruise (or any other Disney cruise sailing), you may want to kickstart your planning with the Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line 2019, co-authored by yours truly.
One of the perkier perks of DVC membership is Moonlight Magic Nights, evenings where members get the run of a park, plus lots of snacks, for freeeeee! Yep, it’s like those big-dollar paid late-night evenings, but at no extra cost. While there is no fee, advance registration is required and availability is limited. The 2019 Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios nights have now passed. The Epcot event are happening this month, on May 13 and 20, 2019. Registration is now open for all members. Animal Kingdom will host three events: July 18, August 8, and August 22, 2019, with registration opening on June 5 for members with WDW hotel reservation, and on June 12 for all members. The last Moonlight Magic event of the year will take place at Typhoon Lagoon on September 18 and October 16, 2019, with registration opening on August 14 for members with WDW hotel reservation, and on August 28 for all members.
Here’s where we tackle a frequently asked question or two about Disney Vacation Club.
Question: I’ve been reading about Disney Vacation Club, but I’m not yet a member. How do I know if DVC is right for me?
Answer: There’s no one right answer. Buying DVC is a likely to be one of the largest purchases you’ll make, depending on how many points you buy. It may be second only in cost to your primary residence. So it’s certainly not something you’ll want to enter in lightly. You may want to consult with your financial advisor and your attorney before taking the plunge. That said, I’m going to answer your question with a bunch of other questions – things you may want to think about as you decide whether to purchase a DVC ownership:
- Does my job allow me plan my vacation far in advance? If not, how will you feel about limited availability of rooms in your preferred location or of the preferred size?
- Will you honestly continue to love Disney properties for many years? Picture your vacations with your kids as teens, as young adults, with their own families.
- What else could you do with the money? Will you want to travel to other locations?
- Do I have my children’s education and my retirement funded? How will DVC ownership impact these financial commitments?
- Is my income stable enough to pay the annual dues?
- How do you feel about not having full housekeeping service every day of your vacation?
- Do you know about the pros and cons of buying directly from Disney vs. buying resale points?
- Would I feel comfortable selling my points if needed?
- Am I good with managing detailed transactions? Will I remember things like banking and borrowing points dates?
- Do your children interact well together? In the event of your passing, how would they manage your membership? Can you account for this in your will?
- Do you and your spouse both enjoy Disney vacations equally? How will ownership impact your relationship?
- Have I priced out stays at other Orlando area timeshares?
- Do I understand the real costs of using points for things like Disney Cruises?
- Would I be comfortable with having multiple points contracts?
- Is having kitchen access important to me?
There are certainly many other questions to ask yourself before buying DVC, but this should give you a start.
That does it for this month’s wrap-up. Got any DVC questions? Current members, do you have any advice for someone deciding whether to purchase points for the first time? Let us know below.